Monthly Archives: November 2009

Sacred Hearts

It’s that time again! Time to discuss our book of the month: Sarah Dunant’s Sacred Hearts. In case you missed it, check out the book trailer to get an idea of what you’re missing.

Let’s hop to it!

I loved the way the book opened. The first chapter of Book 1 was an excellent introduction to the story and its setting: picturesque and detailed, but not overwrought. It reminded me of the opening sequence in a film, zooming in and out of all the various characters and story lines that would be introduced and fleshed out.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but found it to be slightly dull.  I’m not sure if it’s my modern mentality that strikes a sharp contrast to the slower pace of convent life?  Or is it my aversion to religious “order”/s of all kinds?  I have this strange obsession with Catholic nuns (my sister and I used to play Nuns, should I blame The Sound of Music?)– I’m fascinated by the details of their daily lives and routines, but shudder to think that I’d ever have a life quite so prescribed.  (Devil’s advocate: my life is almost as rigid as the Convent schedule.  Now: get up, go to work, work, come home, eat, sleep; Then: Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers, Compline, Matins.  They just get cooler names for their schedules.)
Continue reading

Film Whips It Good

This is our third guest blog from Revolution, although now she’s better known as K-Y La Jelly. (Check out 1 and 2)

whip_it_cast

Whip It was not only a directorial debut for Drew Barrymore, it was a debut of women’s roller derby resurgence that began merely at the turn of this millennium.  Hollywood’s spotlighting of lesser known athletics has led to their subsequent national and international growth before.  Documentary Planet B-boy attributes the international exposure to breakdancing simply after 1983 Flashdance’s introductory clip of kids dancing in the streets.  About’s skateboard guide, Steve Cave, lists the 1989 release of Gleaming the Cube, a movie that first featured Tony Hawk among other future professionals, as a major event that boosted skateboarding popularity.  Has the passion of Barrymore’s pet project impacted roller derby in the same way?

Despite the novelty of roller derby in Hollywood, Whip It’s financial and artistic grade achieved a big fat mediocre.  Box Office Mojo ranks Whip It #6 behind Zombieland (#1) and Toy Story I & II (#2) according to gross profits made that opening weekend.  Kyle Buchanan gives a more historical perspective on the film’s monetary losses in “A Dispiriting List of Girl-Targeted Movies that Opened Better than Whip It” on movieline.com.  To summarize, the list includes several movies that star Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan, and dramatize the following topics:  boyfriends, princesses/drama queens, animals (horses and mermaids), and gymnastics (not to belittle the athleticism of this sport).  Film critics from New York TimesWashington Post and USA Today grant Whip It one thumb up for an eccentric cast and one thumb down for a predictable plot.

A quick read through roller derby team websites and blogs, however, show a very different story.  Ivanna S. Pankin, founder of Las Vegas’ Neanderdolls and owner of the online derby store Sin City Skates, states that even if the movie had sucked it is a free marketing tool that educates people about the sport’s existence.  For the past year she has prepped her business to respond to sales booms after the film’s release.  Sojourney Beaver, Las Vegas’ general league manager and new recruits coach, says that for every person who asks, “There’s derby in Las Vegas?” another person asks “What’s roller derby?”  After Whip It’s release, Beaver found 22 more women at the next beginner’s practice, about four times the normal 1-5 newbies who show up at the start of the season.  Although most of these new recruits denied the film had anything to do with their choice to start derby, a few admitted they had no clue a derby team existed in Las Vegas until they saw flyers posted at theaters.  Similarly, LV member Bootsi Call quotes 380 tickets sold at the following bout compared with the average 100-200 fans.
Continue reading